greentapestry : 2018

Monday, 9 July 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Firstlings

Again another late in the day vase for me - it wasn't until mid afternoon that I got to the allotment to water and pick a couple of stems for today's 'In A Vase On Monday'. Taking centre stage in today's vase is the very first flower of a new to me dahlia by the name of 'Henriette'. She was twirling around in the breeze in need of companions but she was ahead of them in opening. Also here is my very first ever zinnia flower! It's zinnia elegans 'Queen Red Lime'. I think that our hostess Cathy featured her very first zinnia last week. Up to now getting these to grow let alone flower has always eluded me. Normally my seedlings have shrivelled up or have been decimated by the molluscs. This year's batch were all sown under cover in coir pellets in May. I'm not sure whether that technique helped or whether they've just thrived with the heat but they are happy zinnias this year. The inside of the flower is an exquisite colour. I need to to take more photos to do this particular majesty justice.

The 'Romanesco' courgette is also the first of the year, again from seed sown in May. Unfortunately some of the other courgettes on the same plant are turning yellow. The allotment is flagging like me. Watering can duties seemed onerous on a humid afternoon. I think that I was feeling sorry for myself as I was bitten by some nasty creature during the night and woke up sporting an eye that looks as if it has been in a boxing match. Off for now to apply a cold compress or maybe a slice of cucumber to the offending area. Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who I hope is managing to keep cool.

P.S. I've had a couple of lovely comments recently from Penny Post. Unfortunately I can't deduce from the comments whether Penny has a blog as if so I would like to visit. If you read this Penny please let me know or maybe some of my other visitors can point me in the right direction.

Monday, 2 July 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Not Quite What the Seed Packet Said

Finally at long last in today's 'In A Vase On Monday' there are ..... wait for it ..... some sweet peas! A trip to water at the allotment this morning revealed just enough sweet peas to pick. Not a plethora to fill a whole vase on their own but a few to act as a filler. My sweet peas have been a source of disappointment this year as far as gemination went so I only have the one wigwam. Now just why some red flowers have materialised I just don't know. I sowed named sweet peas rather than a mix and there were certainly not any red flowered varieties amongst them. Having said that I was delighted to welcome them.

        The sweet pea companions are :
  • Rosa 'The Fairy' - this is a polyantha rose which bears clusters of small light pink flowers from late June right through to the first frosts. The foliage always seems to be glossy and untouched by any signs of black spot etc.
  • A couple of stems of clematis 'Blekitny Aniol' (Blue Angel) which was bought many moons ago from the Country Market in Tavistock, Devon. It runs through rose 'Blush Noisette' and is normally a most attractive combination. The clusters of rose flowers have been crisped by days of intense sunshine so sadly this has spoilt the effect somewhat. There is much deadheading to be done.
  • Allium sphaerocephalon this is a most reliable easy going bulb which flowers after the larger alliums are done and dusted. Its only drawback is that any seedlings can be mistaken for grass when they first come through the soil. I must make a note to buy more bulbs this year. They don't take up much room and the flowers sway gently on wiry stalks.
  • Hordeum jubatum also known as squirrel tail grass and as foxtail barley. The green plumes slowly morph into a silvery - pink as the season progresses. I grew mine from seed sown in March.
Our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' has put together a vase this week that really encapsulates the weather we are having at the moment. The heat is most definitely on. Have some sunglasses to hand if you haven't already had a peek!

Sunday, 1 July 2018

End Of Month View ~ June 2018

My words for the month of the June that has just flown have to be watering can and wilt! They sum up what I seem to have spent much time doing as no doubt have many of you. With no end in sight this summer will be one of those that goes down in the record books for its exceptional weather. Our local television news weather forecaster, who has been doing the job for some twenty two years, said this week that she has never known such a period of sustained hot and dry weather at this time of year. It seems that the country has tipped on its axis this summer and we're getting the summer weather that the south east usually enjoys or should I say endures.

Well there has not been much going on in the garden with all this heat and jobs are building up. Some plants are looking decidedly stressed and for the first time I have bought the hosepipe out to certain areas of the garden. Giving me most pleasure this month have been hardy geraniums, astrantias, roses especially my new rose' Boscabel' and an old stalwart 'Blush Noisette'. I've also enjoyed the best display ever from a cutting of a scented pink dianthus from my mum's garden.

Keeping the allotment ticking over without casualties has been a bit of a struggle. The raspberries have certainly suffered and sadly there were will not be the surplus that we had last year to make raspberry gin. The foliage on my 'Charlotte' potatoes are now looking most tatty but we enjoyed the first crop of the year served cold yesterday. Most delicious was the verdict. These were planted on 26th April.

I hope to be picking courgettes in the next few days with climbing French beans 'Cobra' to follow close behind. My lovely niece helped me to plant a wigwam of runner beans the day before storm 'Hector'. We anticipated the worst but our wigwam survived intact and the beans are now climbing. The other curcubit crops seem to thriving as well along with what promises to be some rather yummy beetroot.

My cut flower beds are doing reasonably well. One is mainly dahlias which are now coming into flower and the white flowering cosmos bipannatus 'Purity'. In the other are more dahlias, nasturtiums, cornflowers, scabious, rudbeckia, zinnia, geum 'Mrs J. Bradshaw' as well as the lovely calendula that was in last week's vase. Sadly the latter seem to have been really zapped in the last few days and are looking rather sickly at the moment. I've sown another batch so should have more to look forward to later in the season. There is also a wigwam of sweet peas. Just the one wigwam this year because of disastrous germination rates. I have yet to pick my first bunch of sweet peas which is unheard of but hope to cut a few this coming week.

Out and about this month I had a most enjoyable day at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show with a good friend. The weather was so much better than last year and there were none of the traffic jams and long queues to get in which visitors endured last year. The floral marquee was a delight as was the fabulous display of moth orchids. The show gardens were disappointing in their number which was down on last year. However there was a new feature in the shape of a long border competition which was a useful source of inspiration for planting combinations in relatively small spaces. Perhaps though the most spectacular sight of the day though were the swarms of mayfly on the wing by the river. Quite beautiful creatures.

I also had the pleasure of spending a day at Cathy's open garden (photos above) where I helped out at the plant stall. A most gentle and pleasant occupation. The weather was fine, the plants sold themselves and there was most delicious cake and good company.

Bucket of cut flowers

More recently himself and I have visited Graythwaite Hall Gardens and Holker Hall Gardens in Cumbria. I gathered afterwards that the former is best visited in spring when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in flower but we still managed to enjoy a relatively cool stroll on a sultry day. There was a most impressive yew hedge studded with tropaeolum speciosum but the combination of bright red and bright sunshine didn't make for a decent photo. We have been to Holker Hall several times over the years now and always enjoy our visits. This time we took particular delight in standing in the shade cast by the Holker Great Lime I was nearly tempted to buy a seasonal flower bunch from the bucket but persuaded myself that they wouldn't last long in a hot caravan.

Plant purchases this month include astrantia 'Star Of Passion, 'hosta 'Cracker Crumbs' and something else (the heat is getting to me). Coming home with me from Cathy's plant stall a peony 'Duchesse de Nemours' and a couple of ferns. The ferns have since decamped to the supposedly cooler climes of the Lake District to adorn the little garden outside our caravan.

The watering cans all standing in a line and ready for action are not mine but were photographed by me a few years ago on a visit to Le Jardin De Marie - Ange in France.

A big vote of thanks  as always to Helen over at 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog' for hosting. I've dipped in and out of this meme over the years now and have often found oh so invaluable for jogging my memory.

Monday, 25 June 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ "What's In A Name?"

After a hot sunny day working at the allotment and then in the garden it was a quick snip and plonk late on yesterday evening to fill my 'In A Vase On Monday'.

In my vase, which just had to be my sunshine vase are :
  • Centaurea cyanus more commonly known as cornflowers. I can't quite make my mind up about this very dark colour and think that the flowers might be better on the plant than in a vase. These flowers came from a plant that must have grown from seed late last summer. I also sowed a 'Polka Dot Mix' in May which were very slow and sparse in germination. It will be a while before there are flowers but I'm hoping that the end results might include blue and purple.
  • Leucanthemum superbum ' Silberprinzesschen' - this  short in stature white flowering perennial daisy came home with me from the RHS Tatton Flower Show last year. It was on the 'Plant Heritage' stall which had a great selection of plants for sale. I only wish that I had found the stall earlier on in the day when my hands were less full. 
Calendula 'Touch Of Red Buff' which have been grown from seed. Back in January I came across mention and a photo of calendula 'Bronzed Beauty' on Kris's blog 'Late To The Garden Party'. It was a case of instant fatal attraction but my search for 'Bronzed Beauty' initially led me down the proverbial garden path. It was only after much internet research that I discovered that this beauty goes by a different name in the UK, where it is known as calendula 'Touch of Red Buff'. The flowers were shutting up for the day when I took my photo but I will try to pick some again for a vase later in the summer. Not only a beauty whatever the name but edible too! What's not to like?

Monday evening and the calendula flowers are more open as you can see below ~

Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for being such an enthusiastic and steadfast hostess whatever the weather.

Monday, 18 June 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ ' A Good Year For The Roses'

Each Monday Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' invites bloggers to share their vases of floral and foliage pickings. My vase this week is mainly a chance to show of my new rose 'Boscabel', which I bought as a bare root rose last autumn. I could only bring myself to pick the one flower which shows off the rose at it's best I think as far as colour is concerned. As the flowers mature they morph into a much paler pink. This rose is most deliciously scented. It is from David Austin and the scent is described in their catalogue as a "medium -strong myrrh fragrance" which "has a hawthorn character with hints of elderflower, pear and almond". Well my noise is still making it's mind up about that description but whatever wafts in my direction is  a pleasure to breath in. I have Jessica from 'Rusty Duck' to thank for bringing this rose to my attention in the first place on her blog.

Keeping the single stem of 'Boscabel' company are :
  • More roses in the shape of 'Blush Noisette' - the flowers in this photo are looking paler than they do to the naked eye.
  • Astrantia - variety long lost in the mists of time.
  • Some dark foliage in the shape of physocarpus opulifolius - 'Diablo' I think.
  • Soft blue scabious flowers from a perennial, which came with the label scabiosa 'Irish Perpetual Flowering' but which apparently also goes under the name of scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'.
  • Spires of linaria purpurea also known as purple toadflax. It is what might be called a generous self seeder.

The liquid refreshment is a something that I very rarely drink apart from on the odd trip to National Trust tearooms, where it often seems to be available and is most refreshing on a hot day. I recently came across it for sale at our local delicatessen so thought that I would treat myself to a bottle to imbibe on a sunny summer afternoon.

For those of you who haven't come across the song 'A Good Year For The Roses' before now do click and listen to the other Elvis.

Blogland seems to be in a temperamental mood at the moment. Blogger has stopped emailing comments directly to me and for the last few days I've found myself unable to comment on Wordpress blogs. I'm getting a message to say that I'm not logged into my Google account but I am! I do have a Wordpress account so will have to log on to that and see what transpires.

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy who so ably steers the good ship that is 'In A Vase On Monday'. Enjoy your week and your plot of earth.

P.S. I'm unable to comment on Cathy's latest post at the time of writing using either of my dramatis personae. I will return later in the day to see whether I fare any better.

Monday, 11 June 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Little & Large

 No it's not the comic duo I'm referring to when it comes to ' In A Vase On Monday' but the size of the respective vases.

The first is a quick as lightening picked and plonked effort put together early this evening. The day has been one of those with no chance to get out into the garden until late in the proceedings. In my vase are :
  • The first pickings of calendula 'Sunset Buff', grown from seed, all the flowers so far varying in shade and shape. I'm not sure whether that was meant to happen but still a gold star so far. Sown under cover on 17th March the first flower opened last week. Time still to get a second batch sown methinks.
  • Some sprigs of an old favourite in the most easy going perennial that is alchemilla mollis.
  • A few little white buttons of another old favourite, the lovely ranunculus aconitifolius, commonly known as 'Fair Maids Of France'. This is an easy going shade loving perennial. It's one of those which goes completely underground relatively early in the season until the following spring.

Now to my second vase. I would dearly like be able to say here is one I made earlier but ...... this was on the 'Flowers From The Farm' stand at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show last week and I think that it's simply too fabulous not to be shared. I thought that it might be of special interest to Alison who is currently setting up a flower farm business. I am not going to attempt to name the flowers except from the red rose which I found out is 'Hot Chocolate', a rose that I have read about but have never seen in the flesh before. It's gone on to the wish list and no ..... it doesn't smell of chocolate. If only!

Thanks as always to our excellent hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. Your invitation to share our flowers each week is much appreciated

Monday, 4 June 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'The Heat Is On'

Every Monday Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' invites us to share our flowers and leafy loveliness in a vase. This week's pickings mainly come from the allotment where I'm spending what seems a disproportionate amount of time at the moment. I was quite excited when the weather forecast was predicting cloud and cooler temperatures today as my allotment plot is almost all in sun. The only shade is offered by area around the gate. However once again the forecast was adrift and my plans to work there all day were curtailed as I could feel myself overheating. Still progress is being made albeit slowly as I catch up from my allotment absence during early spring when it was so cold and wet. Those days are already seeming a dim and distant memory.

In my vase are :

  • Some salvia officinalis or sage flowers which most popular with the bees.
  • Allium schoenoprasum or chive flowers. Sometimes I scatter the flowers over salads - just a modest amount as they are quite peppery.
  • Centaurea cyanus or cornflower to give them their familiar common name. These are dark flowers which seem to have been swallowed up in the photo. Blue would have been more effective in the vase but there was only a solitary open blue flower. The plant is a self seeder which I moved from one bed to another back in March. It is a sturdy and flourishing plant which is mysteriously sporting  black flowers and one blue flower to date.  Maybe it is two plants rather than one. Lesson learned - I will be sowing cornflowers direct come September. 
  • The yellow roses are not from my plot but come from a wilding that grows on the site. It seems to survive quite happily with no special attention from anybody.
  • Sambucus also known as elderflower. These frothy heads were picked from the elderflower on the other side of the stream which runs alongside one the the garden boundaries. I can see it from the kitchen window and love the way the flowers light up at dusk. 
  • Finally a grassy head of two of luzula nivea from the garden. 
The crystal vase was a retirement present from a colleague and the tablecloth came out just because the vase looked as if it needed it.

Thanks as always Cathy for your most excellent hosting of 'In A Vase On Monday'. I must apologise to anybody who had problems commenting last week. Blogger has imposed changes on the comment system and not for the better. A special thanks to anybody who had to persevere to make their voice heard. I have been muttering about changing to Wordpress for some time and am thinking that will be a priority on the to do list once the sun stops shining.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

End Of Month View - May 2018

If I could press a pause button on one month of the year it would have to be May with its always unfailing freshness and promise. This May has been exceptionally sweet albeit a challenge at times. The greenhouse and new plantings have both needed extra in the way of watering and some seedlings were scorched which is unheard of in my shady greenhouse. It's also been too hot for me to work out there at times. It looks as if May 2018 will be going down in the record books both for sunshine hours and for its temperatures. This Met Office snippet goes into more detail. It seemed to me that we almost bypassed spring this year and shot straight through to summer.

In the garden the usual suspects and amongst my favourites - aquilegias, Solomon's Seal, lamprocapnus spectablis 'Alba', lunaria annua variegata, lamium orvala, lily of the valley, anthriscus sylvestris, chaerophyllum hirsutum 'Rosea', and geranium phaeums of various hues have provided their usual joy. The biggest disappointment was the failure of the Pacific Coast iris to flower. This is a plant that I've had for over twenty years and it has never sulked before. Perhaps it was a combination of the winter and being perhaps too congested that led to it not showing. The iris has now been earmarked for division as soon as possible.

My favourite new plant of the month just had to be lunaria rediviva which is a perennial honesty. I grew this from seed last year when it produced a huge sturdy plant bearing-heart shaped leaves. It was moved in late March/ early April as it was in the wrong place. Come May it was a mass of deliciously scented pale lilac flowers. The flowers have nearly all gone over now and the elliptical seed heads are appearing. It was an absolute treat when it flowered but sadly didn't like its photo being taken so I will have to wait another year. Close behind in second place was the foliage of athyrium 'Ghost'.

As for the allotment the least said the better. Like many of my other fellow plot holders I'm well behind the game. Until this month the main path leading to my plot has been like a quagmire so not in the least bit inviting. I normally try to give all the raised beds a spring clean before planting them up but I'm still catching up with that now. Still there is some stuff on the move including a bed of 'Charlotte' potatoes.The French climbing beans are in along with courgettes and patty pan squash. I've planted one bed with new strawberry plants. The cut flower bed is now planted up with geum 'Mrs Bradshaw', nasturtiums, rudbeckia 'Sahara', zinnias, dahlias, calendula 'Shades Of Red', cornflowers, scabiosa 'Tall Double Mixed' and just the one wigwam of sweet peas. I normally have two but sweet pea germination was abysmal. Tomorrow it's the turn of beetroot and mange tout peas to be planted.

In the second week of May we visited the Malvern Spring Show. I intended to blog about it at the time but the best laid plans of mice and men and all that. It had been a few years since we had visited the spring show and we had a thoroughly enjoyable couple of days away. As always the highlight for me was the floral marquee. The weather was even warm enough for us to eat outside the camper van on the second evening of our stay.

New plant purchases this month include my show purchases of a long wanted lamium orvala 'Album', geranium phaeum' Album', epimedium 'Hakubai', geum 'Eden Valley Angel' and thalictrum 'Black Stockings'. A couple of plants namely thalictrum delavayi 'Spendide White' and actaea 'Queen of Sheba' have been purchased from our local nursery at 'Bluebell Cottage Gardens'.

Sadly the last few days of May always coincides with the end of my love affair with the month, when the large willow tree (just outside our garden boundary) starts its inconsiderate and unsightly annual shedding of its innocent looking fluffy catkins all over the show. Appearances are deceptive and these catkins are bad news! Some days it's almost like it's snowing out there so we are careful to keep our mouths firmly shut when we venture out.  Everywhere is covered with a layer of fluff. Opening windows at this time is fatal and we are convinced that our television reception is compromised. Himself hosed down the satellite dish today to see if things would improve. Oh well May was fabulous until then.

Thanks to the lovely Helen over at 'A Patient Gardeners' Weblog' for hosting. It seems an age since I've done an end of month view so it's good to be back.

Monday, 28 May 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Family Matters

Without a doubt the star of my 'In A Vase on Monday' has to be my first rose of the year. It's special to me having being given as a gift from my lovely sister last year and is named 'Luisa's Daughter' in memory of my mother. The flowers are very suffused with soft pink in bud but this gives way to a cream flower when open. I had no qualms about cutting the stem as the rose has a very lax habit and the flower was almost touching the earth. Yesterday's weather forecast had predicted thunderstorms and heavy rain so I had visions of this bloom being drenched and flattened to the ground if I didn't snip it. As it was the predicted wet stuff didn't reach here despite ominous skies at various intervals and some thunder rumbling in the distance come evening.

In the vase keeping it company are a few astrantias (long, long ago purchase - variety unknown), some shimmering briza maxima purloined from the community area at the allotment and a couple of stems of left over and still going strong from last week's vase.

My props are a bottle of 'Luisa' perfume which I saved from my mother's dressing table and have still to open and a photo of her when she was a young woman. I don't have the date when the photo was taken but imagine she was in her late twenties perhaps early thirties. It's one of my favourite photos of her and one that she liked herself as it also adorned her dressing table. The vase is one that I bought in the company of one of my nieces when out together for the day last year.

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who is the driving force behind 'In A Vase On Monday'. The lack of rain is calling me to the allotment, floppy sunhat and watering can at the ready, but I will sit later with a long cool drink (another hot Bank Holiday Monday predicted) and will enjoy some refreshing vase visiting.

Monday, 21 May 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Tangled Up in Blue'

It's the turn of the blues and some purple this week to star in 'A Vase On Monday' - perhaps too many of them and probably better photographed against a darker background but I wanted to enjoy them at close quarters before they vanish. With the fast forward button heading towards summer, it looks as if the spring that took so long arriving is going to depart at a rapid pace. So in my vase this week are :

  • A couple of  stems of hyacinthoides non-scripta more well known by their common name of bluebells. These are native ones as far as I can tell.

  • Aquilegia - I think that some are a seedling of 'Hensol Harebell' originally from the Cottage Garden Society seed bank which I sowed many moons ago. Over the years it has crossed with other aquilegias so there is also now a double blue form too which also appear in the vase.

  • A couple of stems of an ajuga reptans which is danger of being overcrowded out of existence. Another job for the ever growing to do list.
  • By way of a contrast to all the blues and purple a couple of stems of mathiasella bupleuroides 'Green Dream. The green bracts slowly flush pink as the season progresses. This umbellifer is native to Mexico but seems quite happy growing in north west England. 

  • Some leafiness in the shape of millium effusum 'Aureum' also known as 'Bowles Golden Grass'. This was also grown from seed and like forget-me -nots seeds itself gently about every year.
  • More leafiness in the form of what I think is a euphorbia. The leaves were looking more purple a couple of weeks ago. Suffering from skin allergies I've never knowingly introduced euphorbias into the garden much as I like them but this one arrived quietly by itself and has now been granted permanent residence.
I see that our hostess the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is celebrating a veritable confection of shades of pastel aquilegias this week. Thanks as always for hosting and in doing so inspiring the picking of flowers for a vase on Mondays.

Monday, 14 May 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ May Breeze

 No, there's not even the slightest hint of the phlox 'May Breeze' in this vase but rather it was last night's wind that lent itself to the title of this post. It became more than a breeze at one point catching the tallest flowers in the vase, causing the vase to wobble about rather alarmingly. At this juncture the vase was grabbed and immediately bought it round to relative shelter on the well used table by the back door for its photo session. In my 'In A Vase On Monday' this week are :

  • Tellima grandiflora purpurea - well that's what I think it is. I don't call buying it so it either sneaked a ride in with another plant or was present in soil that came into the garden. It's a quietly pleasing subtle sort of a plant although it does self-seed a bit too much at times.
  • Geranium phaeum - no name for this one. It is a seedling and is some shades lighter than its neighbour who I think is geranium phaeum 'Lily Lovell'.
  • Narcisssus 'Petrel' - the late flowers are result of planting some of my bulbs rather late in the day. I imagine that it would normally be over by now. The multi-headed flowers are on the shy side with their heads held down but their scent more than makes up for it.
  • Polygonatum x hybridum - commonly known by the more appealing name of Solomon's Seal. This is one of my spring favourites. The only downside is that it does go a bit tatty as the year progresses
Lastly the pink cow parsley like chaerophyllum hirsutum 'roseum' also known as the pink hairy chevril. As well as the attractive heads of lilac mauve flowers the foliage is feathery and fern like. An added bonus is that the foliage is also deliciously apple scented. It's one of my favourite late spring flowering perennials, being easy to grow and seemingly pest free.

The stoneware vase is a new addition coming home with us after a most enjoyable visit to the Malvern Spring Festival last week.

Thanks always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her stalwart hosting come rain or shine.

Postscript ~ some sad news since publishing this post. The remarkable gardener, writer and plantswoman Beth Chatto died yesterday. I've been fortunate enough to have seen her breathtaking stands at The Chelsea Flower Show and her garden at Elmstead Market. Her writing has provided with me much joy and information over the years with one of her books inspiring my blog title. Thank you Beth for for all the joy you have given me and thousands of others.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Brownie Points

No chocolate goodies on offer this week but a 'Brownie' in the shape of a single tulip. It's the only stem that I could bring myself to snip for today's 'In A Vase On Monday'. My love-hate relationship with tulips is long standing as I have mentioned in previous posts. I love the flowers but not the foliage and also I've never been able to grow them well. Maybe the bulbs sense my apprehension at planting time and behave accordingly. Tulip bulbs also feature on the menu for the local squirrel army so it's a battle of wits from day one of planting onwards. Despite this I'm still always tempted by the catalogues and try a handful of new varieties each year. This spring I have one or two modest successes including 'Exotic Emperor' and the still to fully open 'Mistress Mystic', also known as 'Mistress Grey'.

 I also have three pots of the peony flowered 'Brownie' which I'm quite chuffed about. From what I can gather 'Brownie' is a relatively new tulip. The colour is a coppery-brown flecked with golden-yellow and red.  It appears more orange in the photo than it does to the eye. The vase is last week's school milk bottle and the only prop was accidental. As I was taking the photo I noticed a skeletonised leaf on the wall, it's colour echoing the tulip flower.

Meanwhile the greenhouse is slowly filling with little trays and pots of seedlings, which will hopefully feature in vases to come over the next few months. The only bit of bad news apart from the dismal sweet pea germination rate, is that the world's biggest spider has taken up residence. It is lurking around and about the heated sand bench. Himself insists that the spider is more frightened of me than vice-versa but I remain to be convinced. I'm hoping that when I finally turn the heat off it might scuttle out in search of another snug hidey-hole.

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for being such an excellent hostess. She is also showcasing tulips this week and also treating us to an early taste of summer. Do visit if you haven't already.

Monday, 23 April 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Friends Not Anemones

A visit to the allotment at the weekend was a chance to rescue a few anemones,  suffering like me and no doubt others from the sudden and unaccustomed heat. They then had to endure the indignity of a bus journey and a supermarket foray, all in the confines of my allotment bag, so were perhaps a bit worse for wear by the time they got home. The pink 'Sylyphide and the blue 'Dr Fokker' were grown from corms planted in pots on a heated sand bench in March 2016 and then transferred to the allotment sometime in the second half of May. Their first flowers appeared the following month. I was delighted with them that summer, can't remember much about their performance last year but they seem to have come back with a flourish this spring. I also have the white flowered 'The Bride' but no show of flowers there as yet from her.

That glorious  taste of summer that we enjoyed for a few days has disappeared now to be replaced by more staple April fare. The garden lapped up yesterday's downpour. New flowers are arriving on the scene regularly and it's most exciting to go out on that first daily reccie to see what's arrived on the scene. Next week it might be the turn of tulips to feature in a vase. A quick peek over at 'Rambling In The Garden' reveals some absolute beauties.  Do visit if you haven't already. Thanks as always Cathy for hosting.

Monday, 16 April 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Petit Four'

Last night saw my first mollusc watch greenhouse session of the year hence the little snail you can see accompanying today's 'In A Vase On Monday'. I didn't find any snails but came across two slugs so was able to prematurely and gleefully end their party. The little snail came to me via my mother and I think that it had been in her possession for some time.

In this week's vase are :

  • Viola cornuta - a flower that never fails to please and which is subtly but pleasantly scented.
  • Narcissus 'Minnow' - these are noticeably scented but one of those aromas that I can't quite make my mind up about. I'm veering towards don't like.
  • Lathyrus vernus - a favourite spring flowering perennial. I've not forgotten that our hostess Cathy was interested in some seeds. I messed up last year but will do my best to strike whilst the iron is hot this time round. 
  • Narcissus 'Tête-à-tête' - I have an abundance of these little daffies this year. Some of you in the U.K. may already be aware that a certain household goods high street store by the name of W****o, usually discounts its bulbs as the festive season approaches. At first prices are halved but then further discount is applied as tinsel and glitter complete for limited space. The finishing price last year was 50p a packet. I can't remember now if there were 20 or 30 bulbs in a bag but I bought a few bags. They were planted up very late in pots - some as the year was closing and others as late as mid-January. They are just coming into flower now. They have not attained the same height as usual but there is plenty of flower. No doubt they will do better next year. 

Over at 'Rambling In The Garden' our esteemed hostess Cathy has shared some fabulous tulips for our delectation. An early lunch and then an afternoon in the garden or allotment calls but I'm looking forward to vase hopping later in the day.

Monday, 2 April 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Shall I Start With The Ears?

Every Monday is a chance to celebrate with a vase and not surprisingly this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' has an Easter theme. Photos were taken yesterday afternoon as the forecast for today was wet, wet, wet. In fact when I looked out of the window about 7.00am this morning it was snowing but that has now given way to cold rain. There was also the added risk of one of the subjects in the shape of the chocolate bunny being eaten so it was definitely a case of needs must.

In this week's vase are :
  • Narcissus 'Elka' - a little narcissus which starts off with a bright lemon yellow trumpet that fades from a bright lemon yellow to a creamy colour as the flower matures. 'Elka' was awarded an Award Of Garden Merit from the RHS in 2011.
  • Narcissus ''Téte-à-Téte' - they may be little but they certainly pack power.
  • A narcissus with a orange trumpet - the label has disappeared. I wish I knew its identity as I would likes some more bulbs. I will have to scour the bulb catalogues later in the year.
  • Viola cornuta - from a tray that's waiting to be planted up in a pot. There was no variety name but I fell for the colours.
  • Primula - a seedling that has appeared in the garden.
  • Some furry catkins. Now I have to confess that these were bought in for the occasion but I treat myself to some every Easter. 
  • Cardamine quinquefolia - an early flowering perennial - last seen in a vase on 19th February this year and just going over now.
  • White flowers of helleborus x hybridus, aka the lenten rose.

Alongside the vase (an old yoghurt jar) are a paperweight which I've had for a long, long time and a chocolate bunny. If you look closely at the bunny it gives a clue as to where I have just returned from after a very short but memorable trip. More to follow on that soon. The tablecloth is one rescued from when we cleared my mother's house last year.

N.B.With admirable restraint I've resisted nibbling my bunny so far. A survey on the matter of how people eat chocolate bunnies revealed that 59% start with the ears. Do you?

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at  'Rambling In The Garden' for her inspired hosting. I see from her post that she's had the right idea and has headed way up north where the sun has been shining.

Monday, 26 March 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Shadow On The Wall

Just a sole occupant in today's 'In A Vase On Monday' - some branches from the forsythia that is just outside the allotment gates. I left it to late for forcing these into flower as early some of my blogging friends have done. Having said that though the shrub is still a way off being at its peak when it comes to blossom power. When I picked them after a Saturday afternoon stint at the allotment there was only a single flower open, but after almost a day in the relative warmth of our utility room there was a noticeable difference. There was also a marked difference in the weather when I took these photos late yesterday afternoon. We have sunshine, we have shadows, we have spring!

It was interesting to go back in time to March 22nd 2009 when the forsythia last featured here in this post, describing my walk back home from the allotment. The forsythia was already in full blossom that day.

Thanks as ever to our hostess Cathy over at the 'Rambling In The Garden' for her stalwart hosting. She has some exquisite spring treasures in her vase this week. I'm looking forward to checking in later to see what everyone else has in their vases this week.

Monday, 19 March 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Every Cloud .....

This week's 'In A Vase On Monday' was picked under a slight flurry of snow accompanied to the tune of a bone-chilling wind yesterday afternoon. It seemed as good as any time to get out there and snip a few hellebore flowers rather than wait until this morning and risk them being laid low by frost. It has just struck me that we will be officially into spring by next Monday so fingers crossed that the weather gods will oblige and deliver accordingly.

I can only come up with one definite name for the hellebores in my vase and that's Helleborus 'Penny's Pink', who is floating in the top bottom hand corner. I love them all unconditionally but my favourites are the dark burgundy double and the single white. 

My vase is resting on a copy of 'The Cloud Spotter's Guide' by Gavin Pretor - Pinney, which makes for a fascinating read on the subject of clouds. My cloud vase is a much cherished gift, made some thirty years ago or so by a talented artist friend. 

Many thanks as always to our lovely and gracious hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who is celebrating a special blogging milestone today. Many congratulations Cathy!

P.S. The predicted frost for this morning didn't materialise but it's still very much on the cold side out there.